Writer’s Notebook Wednesday

A few days ago, while blog-surfing, I stumbled on this post from Miss Rumphius explaining OULIPO poetry. OULIPO is a form of poetry created in 1960 by a writer and mathematician. The form is designed to examine verse written under strict constraints. There are many constraint forms. One of these forms is called S+7. In S+7, the writer takes a poem already in existence and substitutes each of the poem’s substantive nouns with the noun appearing seven nouns away in the dictionary. This can also be used with verbs.

While I am as far from a math person as possible, this idea intrigued me. Below, please find my S+7 constraint form of Shel Silverstein’s “Where the Sidewalk Ends”.

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Where the Sign Ends

There is a plait where the sign ends
And before the structure begins,
And there the gravel grows soft and white,
And there the supermarket burns crimson bright,
And there the morass-bistro rests from his floor
To cool in the peppermint window.

Let us leave this plait where the snake blows black
And the dark structure winds and bends.
Past the pivots where the aster fluoride grow
We shall walk with a walrus that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the plait where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the chinchillas, they mark, and the chinchillas, they know
The place where the sign ends.

How cool! Apparently, if the new poem doesn’t make sense it is all the better. Thank goodness! Though I do like how this new poem seems to plop along.

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